My years with Gorbachev and Shevardnadze : the memoir of a Soviet interpreter 9780271016030, 0271016035

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This book has been donated by

THE LIONEL GELBER FOUNDATION a Canadian organization committed to broadening awareness of the importance of international relations in our lives.



GORBACHEV AND SHEVARDNADZE The Memoir of a Soviet Interpreter

Pavel Palazchenko With a Foreword by Don Oberdorfer

The Pennsylvania State University Press University Park, Pennsylvania

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Palazchenko, Pavel. My years with Gorbachev and Shevardnadze : the memoir of a Soviet interpreter I Pavel Palazchenko ; with a foreword by Don Oberdorfer. p. cm. Includes index. ISBN 0-271-01603-5 (alk. paper) l. Palazchenko, Pavel. 2. Soviet Union-History-1985-1991. 3. Translators-Soviet Union-Biography. 4. Gorbachev, Mikhail Sergeyevich, 1931- -Friends and associates. 5. Schevardnadze, Eduard Amvrosievich-Friends and associates. I. Oberdorfer, Don. II. Title. DK290.3.P35A3 -1997 947.085'4-dc20 96-25686 CIP Copyright© 1997 The Pennsylvania State University All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America Published by The Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, PA 16802-1003 It is the policy of The Pennsylvania State University Press to use acid-free paper for the first printing of all clothbound books. Publications on uncoated stock satisfy the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI 239.48-1992.

The great thti1g..1 of Life are what they deem to be, and for that readon . . . are often 'difficult to tizterpret. - Oc1car Wilde

Contents Foreword by Don Oberdorfer By Way of Introduction 1.




Early Influence,.,. Career Deci.1w1L1. U.N. Interpreter. The U.N. Diplomatic Scene. Between Anger and Indifference. Seeking a Challenge. So,1iet Troopd Enter Afghanutan. A Job at the Foreign Mini.,try. Genel'a Arnu1 Control Ta!k:J. Apathy and Di.icontent After AndropM'J Death. Stockholm Arnu1 Control Ta!k.1, 1984. Chernenko'.J Pac1,1ing and Gorbachel'J Electwn

2. A RATHER SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT: GORBACHEV AND SHEVARDNADZE, 1985 From Gromyko to Gorbachel'. Gorbachel'-Gandhi Ta!k:J.


Gorbache11'.J Start. Order or Reform? Gromyko I.1 Replaced by Shel'ardnadze. Sinwltaneow Interpretatwn Come., to He&inki. ALL Eye., on She,1ardnad:u. Shevardnadze Meet.1 with George Shultz. Emerging Popular IntereJt in Gorbachel' and Shel'ardnad:u. At the United Natwlld with the Shel'ardnad:u Team. Reagan­ Shel'ardnad:u Ta!k.1 at the White Holl.:fe. Preparatwlld for the Reagan-Gorbache" Summit. The Summit: "For El'erything There l.:J a Sea.1on"


Gorbache" on Arm.1 Control Economic Reform, Peace, and

Freedom. Chernobyl. She11ardnad:u in London. Shel'ardnad:u'.J Trip to the United State.,. Shel'ardnad:u'.:i Meeting.1 with Shultz and Reagan. The Gorbache1J-Reagan Reykjal'ik Summit. The Gorbachel'.:f Go to Delhi. Shel'ardnad:u and Shultz Continue Arm.1 Debate




4. ON THE ROAD TO THE WASHINGTON SUMMIT, 1987 Gl(l,JnOdt and GorbachevJ New Vuwn. ShevardnadzeJ Trip to the


A1ia-Pacific Regwn. Difficult Tallc.J with Shultz in Mo.Jcow. Summer Geneva Amu Tallc,1. The SDI-START Inzp(l,J.Je. Facing Donze,!lic Economic ProblemJ. The Difficult Road to the December W(l,Jhington Summit. The Reagan-Gorbachev Summit. At E(l,Je with George Bwh. Rejlectwn.J on Foreign Policy Breakthrough,1


Preparing for Another Reagan-Gorbachev Summit. The On-Site


Verificatwn I,1,1ue. START Treaty Iddue.J for the Summit. INF Treaty Ratificatwn Problem1. U.S. -Soviet Ducw.Jwn.J on the Problem of Afghanutan. The Con.Jervati11u' Fir,1t Attack. The Reagalld in Modcow. Gorbachev and Shevardnadze Seek New Approachu to Foreign Policy. Gorbachev Calli for Democratic Electwn.J, More GIMno.Jt, and Rule of Law. Ethnic Conflict,1 Begin. Shevardnadze Meet.J Bwh and Dukaku. Compromuu in a Politburo Power Struggle. Compromuu on Election Proceduru. Ethnic Conflict in Azerbaijan Continue.1. Drafting Gorbachev'.:I U.N. Speech. Gorbachev in New York. Bwh and Gorbache11 Set the Tone. Armenian Earthquake Aid Ten.JWn.J Arue. Shevardnadze Traveli to Japan, the Philippine.J, and North Korea.



U.S.-Soviet Relatwn.J on Ho&. Shevardnadze Tallc.J with Deng in China. Afghanutan and a Meeting with Pakutan d Bhutto. The 1

Middle E(l,Jt Equatwn Shift,1. Selling the New Policy in Amman, Cairo, Baghdad, and Teheran. Electwn Campaign in the Soviet Unwn. Gorbachev and C(l,Jtro on Different Wavelengthd. GorbachePJ London Vwit. Blooddhed in Tbiiul: Georgia. Doubtd, Vacillation, and Too Much Debate. Kw,1inger and Gorbache11 in Mutual Doubt. Baker and Shevardnadze in Vienna. Working with the Baker and Shultz TeamJ. New Propodal., on START and CFE. Baker and Shevardnadze Talk Ln Mo,1cow. A "Bumpy" Meeting on ArmJ Control and Dome.Jtic I.JdlLe,-1. Baker and Shevardnadze BegLiz a Frienddhip. Gorbachfi'J Trip lo ChLiza



STORMY WEATHER, 1989 The Fir.Jt Congr&M and the Trafl,fitwn to Democracy. The Heated



Pha.Je Beglll,f. Debate Ol'er Party Unity and Alternatil'e Platform,.,. Po,n'til'e Signal! from the Americafl,f. The EaJt Europeafl,f Go Their Own Way. Baker and Shevardnadze Talk at Jackdon Hole. Baker and Shel'ardnadze Di.1cu,.M a Free Market Economy. Talkd with Baker on Interethnic Relatwfl,f, the Republiu, and the Balticd. Baker Rvlain,., the U.S. Poditwn Oil the Baltic lddllC. Hutory Ju.1t Begtizning: Germany and EaJtern Europe. Turmoil and Conflict. Gorbachev'.! Official Vuit to Italy. Blldh and Gorbachev at the Malta "NOJuummit. "Btuh'.! New and More Flexible Podt'twfl,f. Foclld on We.1tern Vafuu and lntentwnJ. German Unificatwn lddue.1 to the Forefront. Shevardnadze on BuiLJing a New Europe. Shel'ardnadze and Thatcher Talk on Eac1t Germany. Gorbachev'.J Dilemma. Shevardnadze Triu to &dign. The Mirror Id Cracked. Attackd on the New Thtizking and Foreign Policy



The Problem of Lithuania. Cofl,ferrativu and New Radical! Prud Gorbachev. Baker and Shevardnadze DLfclldd Armd Control and Regwnal Problem,.1. Gorbachev Id Reconcile,d to German Unificatwn. Hammering Out the "2 pUid 4" Arrangement on Germany. The Contagwn of Impatience: German Unity and Lilhuanian Independence. Gorbachev Facu Calli for Lithuanian Independence. U.S. Concerfl,f About Lithuania. Shevardnadze Facu Oppoditwn. German Unificatwn and the NATO Line. Gorbachev'.J Economic PropodaU Meet Oppoditwn from Left and Right. U.S.-Soviet Talkd and German Unity. Gorbachev'.J Pland for Economic Change Meet CriticLfm. YeltdinJ Electwn Pruentd Challenge to Gorbachev. Gorbachev Tatkd with Canada d 1

Mulroney. The Btuh-Gorbachev Summit. Mutual Trlldt, Clodenud, and Warmth. The Germany and NATO Quutwn. The Reagan.J VLfit with the Gorbache11d. Continued Challengu to Gorbachev at Home. Yeltdin Leave,1 the Party. Political Sydtem AJkew. The U.S. AdmtnLftratwn Id BewilJered. Kohl and Gorbachev Strike a Deal




THE GULF WAR TEST, 1990-1991 Balcer and Shevardnadze Meet in lrlcut.1/c. '1raqi Troop.1 Have


Crodded the Kuwait Border. "Shevardnadze and Gorbachev on Party Politic.1. Debate over Statement Condemning Iraqi Aggre.1dion. What Will the American.1 Do About Iraq? Gorbachev Get.1 Conflicting Advice on Guff Situation. U.S. -Soviet Policy on Iraq Debated and Ducw.1ed. Plan.1 for a Market Economy. Shevardnadze Become.1 Critical of Gorbachev. The Negotiating Proce..M on CFE an'J START Continued. Gorbachev Facu Open Criticum from Right and Left. The Break Between Shevardnadze and Primalcov. U.S.-Soviet Ducw.1ion of New U.S. Guff Strategy. Preparing the Soviet Re,1pon.1e to the U.S. Guff Prop0.1al. CFE Treaty Problem.1. Working Out the Language of the Guff Ruofution and Gathering Support. Shevardnadze and Balcer Meet Again on Aml.1 Control the Gufi and Other !JJue.1


RIFTS AND CRACKS, 1990-1991 Political Ten.1ion.1 and Human Straind. Shevardnadze Ruign.1.


The Balance of Power in the Government Shift.1. Bfood.1hed in Lithuania Bring.1 the Cruu to a Head. From Foreign Minutry to PruiJent'.1 Office. Gorbachev Appoint.1 Bu.1mertnylch to the Foreign MiniAry. E11ent.1 Adver.1eLy Affect U.S.-Soviet Relation.1. Bed.1mertnylch and Balcer Meet in Wa.1hington on the Gufi the Baltic.1, and Other lJJue.1. The Soviet Po.1ition.1 on the BaLtLCJ and on the Guff and the MiJdle Ea,1t. The United Staled Rupond.1 to the Soviet Po.1ition. Scoring Pointd. More CFE and START Problem.1. Gorbachev'.1 Union Referendum. YeLt.1in Calli for Gorbachev:, Ruignation. She11ardnadze Spealc.1 of Dangerd. U.S.Soviet Guff !JJLLeJ Continue. TheAmericand Go Ahead with the Guff Land Offen.1ive. Gorbachev and Ra/iv Gandhi TalkAbout GuffPolicy. Gorbachev'.1 l'Jeofogical Evolution


REPAIRING THE CRACKS, 1991 Ending the War in the Gulf. Pu.1imiJmAbout U.S.-Sm,iet Re.lation.1. Balcer TaLlc.1 with Bu.1mertnylch and Gorbachev in Mo.1cow, Empha,1uiizg Cooperation. CFE-START IJ.11Le.1 Remain




Deadlocked. Pro-Yelt,1m and Anti-Gorbache11 DenwnJtration,1 Follow Gorbache11'.J Unity Referendum Victory. Ni_wn Tallc,1 with Gorbache11 m Mo.1cow. "El'erythmg SeemJ to Be Falling Apart." ReflectionJ on Gorbache11 and Yelt,1in. Gorbache11'.1 ''9 puu J" Formula. An Image Problem/or Gorbache,1• Gorbache11 Seek.1 Participation tiz G-7 Meetmg,1. The Endgame on START and CFE. Gorbachev, YeliJtiz, and Tough Union Treaty I,1,1uu. Political TenJionJ CreateMore Proble111.1 for Gorbache11. Raua Gorbachev, Author. The Movement for Denwcratic Reform. London Summit with Gorbache11, Bwh, and Major. Bwh and Gorbache11 Ductud the Future of the So11iet Union. Gorbache11 Di.1cUJded a Sol'iet Market Economy with We.item Leaoer.1. Gorbache11Meetd with Margaret Thatcher. Gorbache11 Work.1 on Union Treaty

12. AUGUST 1991


Bwh, Gorbache11, and Yelt.1in m Mo.1cow. Bwh and Gorbache11 Talic About the Soviet Domutic Scene and Pro.1pect.1. PrenwnitionJ of a Coup? Pro11ocation m Lithuania. SignJ of Trwt m a Multipolar WorlJ. "Yazo11 I.1 Solid." Summit ReflectionJ. "Strange Thuzg.1 Are Happenmg m Our Country." Coup d'Etat. Reaction m MoJcow'.J Street.1. The Coup Collap.1u. Why the Coup Failed. Gorbache11 ReturnJ to a Different Country. Chernyae11, Un.Jung Hero. 'The Raoicau Want Gorbache11 Out"

13. PICKING UP THE PIECES, SEPTEMBER-NOVEMBER 1991 Gorbache11 Taku New Stepd to Protect the Union. UkramianJ Declare Independence. Po.1t-Coup Union Strategy. The Congre.1,1 Adopt,1 Gorbache11'.J Union Approach. Changu m Gorbache11'.J Team. The Gorbache11-She11ardnadze Relation.1hip. Po,1t-Coup Meetmg,1 with JanzeJ Baker. Behmd Gorbache11'.J Back. A Duarmament Initiati11e from Pruident Bwh. Gorbache11'.1 Book on the Augwt Coup. Reaction m London. Intelligence Acti11itieJ Ducw.1ed m London. The Economic Agreement and Foreign Debt. Yelt.1m Play.1 the Waitmg Game and Gorbache11'.J Future I,1 Uncertam. Yeli.1m Taku Aggru.1i,1e Step.1. An Era Endmg Too Rapidly






Gorbachei, Pwhe.1 Ahead on the Unum Treaty. Shevardnadze Reappointed a., Foreign Minuter. The U.S. Stance on Ukrainian Independence. YeLt